Senior Gift Campaign Breaks Fundraising Record

The 15th annual Senior Gift Campaign raised a record $25,979.10 for the Haas School – more than double last year — thanks to social networking efforts and a generous donation from a nonprofit started by Rambo Shyy, BS 09.

The undergraduate fundraising campaign received pledges and gifts from 179 students, up from 166 last year. That represents 55 percent of the class of 2010. Excluding gifts from Shyy and Dean Rich Lyons, the class raised $10,979 – still about $433 more than the class of 2009. Including a 3-to-1 match from a New Alumni Challenge by the Trustees of the UC Berkeley Foundation, the total raised by the campaign reached nearly $65,000.

Shyy and Brian Collins, BS 10, chair of the Senior Gift Campaign Committee, presented the class's check to Lyons at the school's annual end-of-the-year party in May. As part of their efforts, the committee created a Facebook page to notify students of the campaign's progress and events such as an ice cream social. A total of 241 students from a class of 324 were members of the page.

Students who pledged at least $25 received a Haas water bottle. Students who pledged $250 or more become members of the Haas Leadership Society, whose benefits include free entry to the annual Haas Gala.

Lyons contributed $5,000 to the fundraising campaign for the Undergraduate Program, from which he graduated in 1982, and he and his wife, Jen, also contributed $5,000 to the fundraising campaign for the MBA program, from which she graduated in 1996.

Shyy gave a $10,000 donation through Wonder Medical and Educational Foundation, a nonprofit that he and his brother started in Cupertino, Calif.

The brothers' unique upbringing inspired them to create the foundation, which is funded with their personal income earned through years of internships and part-time jobs. From an early age, Shyy's family visited underdeveloped rural areas for months for vacation, instead of going to tourist-friendly locations. Shyy's parents wanted their sons to learn to appreciate the abundance in their own lives by letting them experience the lifestyles and hardships of less developed cultures.

These experiences sparked Shyy's passion to help others through education and healthcare, which he believes are the basic foundations to which all should be entitled.

"My Haas experience has convinced me of the value and importance of the Haas mission," says Shyy, who graduated in December 2009. "I believe it is my duty to give back, to protect and improve the Haas experience."

Brian Collins (l.), BS 10, and Rambo Shyy (r.), BS 09, present Dean Rich Lyons a check from the Senior Gift Campaign at the annual end-of-year party. Final results from the undergraduate fundraising campaign came in after the party, ringing in at $25.979.10, including $5,000 from Lyons and $10,000 from a nonprofit founded by Shyy.